A girl pays for her mother's groceries using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) tokens, more commonly known as Food Stamps, at the GrowNYC Greenmarket in Union Square on September 18, 2013 in New York City. (Getty Images)
(WXIA)-- Starting Friday, 47 million Americans will see cuts in food benefits. One in seven Americans will feel the drop. Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are a rollback of temporary increases put in place during stimulus spending.
The cuts going into place on Friday were never meant to be massive, but instead a steady return to normal levels. The 2008 boost in benefits came in response to the financial bust. Enrollment swelled to historic highs. In 2007, 26 million Americans participated in SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). By 2012, those numbers had increased to 47 million. It's an increase of 77%. The program now costs taxpayers $80 million per year.
Under the new levels, the maximum payment for a family of four will shrink from $668 to $632. It breaks down to $432 over a year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that's twenty-one meals per month.
Friday's cuts could be just the beginning of changes coming to SNAP. Negotiations over the Farm Bill began Wednesday. Five-year Farm Bills passed by both houses would continue to cut funding for SNAP, but the levels of suggested cuts are dramatically different.
The House bill would cut $39 billion over the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office says under that bill, 3.8 million people would lose eligibility in 2014. The Senate bill suggests cuts to SNAP at one-fourth the level of the house bill.
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